"Retreat for locals" Jarabacoa by Assenczo

Jarabacoa Travel Guide: 15 reviews and 32 photos

Dominican Republic is mostly associated with its beach resorts such as Punta Cana where the plane loads land but it is definitely more than that. Jarabacoa is a little town in mountainous interior of the country with the claim for resort destination on local level. The cooler climate of the higher elevation makes it attractive for the sweaty folks of the big coastal cities and especially Santo Domingo. It is a sprawling “development” amongst lots of greenery with no well-defined center. The bus terminal might as well be it. Once there, the main magnet for the strangers is the waterfalls in the vicinity. Some claim to be taller than others; some offer swimming holes as opposed to dangerous whirlpools. In any case a trip to the jungle environment is interesting but there are no experiences of a lifetime for sure. The best about a voyage that takes three hours from the capital one way is the travel itself. It shows the countryside and underlines all the inequalities that are firmly entrenched in the Dominican society. The visitor will witness modern highways and sleek buses juxtaposed to farmers ploughing rise fields with the help of a horse. Jarabacoa itself will surprise you with university grounds that are walled-up and barb-wired as if it is a military compound or high security prison. These minor details aside the interaction with the locals is a thrill in its own right.

From the very moment you step off the bus there is an army of well-wishers who would like to show you Jarabacoa and the waterfalls. The only bone of contention is the price; some win and some loose. The most exiting mode of transportation is the motor bike. At first it is difficult to comprehend that this type of vehicle is suited to the function of a taxi but most surprisingly it could (if pressed) fit not one but two passengers. Once on board, you are clutching tightly to the love handles of your driver-cum-tour guide who does not miss a beat in the attempts to offer you more services. Everything in a very polite manner though. So, the deal is that you are taxied to the entrance to the waterfalls park (in the case of Jimenoa Uno) and picked up after an hour or so to be delivered back to town; door to door services sort of speak. The waterfall itself is not as tall as the Rough Guide wants you to believe but it is in a picturesque location and if you are lucky enough not to be rained upon it is a very pleasant outing. Minor concern could be the fact that the falls are in a deep valley and to reach it one has to follow a path, rather steep at some sections. Fortunately, it is well-maintained and for your education and entertainment there are billboards posted along the way explaining the flora and fauna plus everything else around you.

  • Last visit to Jarabacoa: Jan 2013
  • Intro Updated Mar 15, 2013
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